IT IS deep winter in Iceland: a bleak, gloomy season when the region’s few hours of daylight are marred by unpredictable blizzards, roaring Arctic gales and impenetrable, all-enveloping fog.
Over the course of roughly a week in late January, in the south-west of the country a series of unexplained, grisly events unfolds.
Nói and Vala arrive home with son Tumi from a holiday in Florida to find the Americans with whom they’ve swapped houses have moved on from Reykjavík seemingly in a hurry and without leaving the family’s spare set of door keys behind.
Nína, a policewoman ostracised for daring to complain about a fellow officer, is punished by her superiors by being assigned a dreary, dirty administrative job in the station’s basement. At the same time, she is grieving the inevitable loss of her husband, investigative journalist Thröstur, who is lying brain-dead in hospital. Only a couple of weeks earlier Nína discovered Thröstur hanging from a beam in the couple’s garage.
Introverted photographer Helgi has been invited to accompany a work party winched in by helicopter to a lighthouse on the largest of the famous ‘Three Stacks’, a set of exposed sheer rock pillars jutting out of the Atlantic Ocean. His temporary companions, Heida, Ívar and Tóti, are abrupt and unwelcoming.
When deteriorating weather leaves them marooned on a surface area barely big enough to support a single-room structure, the four strangers become suspicious, distrusting, even paranoid. As they remain forced together with literally nowhere to go, dangerous tensions arise.
In the midst of it all are bodies: bodies floating, bodies dangling, bodies unaccounted for.
Adding to the confusion are cryptic messages, printed or scrawled, alleging some form of dishonesty.
Do these three apparently unrelated storylines somehow intersect? What could possibly link them – other than the shame of a long-shared lie?